Planet Superheroes is on a mission to take over the country one store at a time!

Ready, steady, fly!

Planet Superheroes recently announced its store expansion footprint to go beyond the metros of India. With six new retail stores in the last quarter – they have expanded into towns like Jabalpur, Surat, Mangalore, and Vapi making the total count at 25 across India. With 10 more stores opening in the next quarter, Planet Superheroes is leading the way in terms of its omnichannel footprint across both physical and online channels.

Planet Superheroes was launched in 2014 to cater to the huge comic fan community of India which was hungry for a brand focused on providing officially licensed character merchandise. In a market that had been widely polluted with counterfeit products, Planet Superheroes took the leap of faith that Indian customers wanted value for money and preferred official merchandise with consistent quality over counterfeit products. They have now established themselves as a market leader in just under five years both in terms of retail footprint and in the breadth of characters and categories they sell. They have also established a pan India distribution in the toys category to cater to the Mom and Pop Stores of India that still rely on traditional distribution channels.

In terms of licensing partnerships, they work with almost every major licensor from Disney, Warner Brothers, EONE, Viacom, Spin Master and Hasbro bringing joy to its end customers across age categories from Pre-School to hardcore Action Figure Fans who have no age limit! They sell 50+ categories from Apparel, Toys, Collectibles, Electronics and Accessories to name a few. They have also been winners of the Comic-Con Gold Awards for two years in succession.

Licensing in India

The Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey 2018 estimated that the global licensing industry is worth $271.6 Bn. However, licensing in India is still at a nascent stage. But the entry of licensees like Planet Superheroes, coupled with advancements in technology and ever-expanding marketplaces have provided the much-needed tailwinds needed for the growth of this sector. There is still a lack of retail players as traditional retailers do not understand the power of curation. As one of the earliest licensed merchandise brands, Planet Superheroes started focusing on creating ‘character merchandise’ as a category in itself and became a forerunner in bringing this concept to end consumers. While brands like Hamleys, Reliance, Lifestyle etc. also sell character merchandise in silos under Apparel, Electronics, Toys, Planet Superheroes has taken a contrarian “curated category” approach on the lines of other global players in the world that have succeeded in this space.

Challenges

The most important challenge in retail is managing the expectations of the mall owners who often expect Planet Superheroes’ “trading density” (Revenue per square foot) to be on par with other premium fashion brands. This is a challenge because, despite the better than average conversion, the average price of these products are much lower compared to the bigger brands who command a much larger premium. However, after successfully executing its first 5 stores and proving the value addition, most mall operators now approach them to become a part of their upcoming mall launches because of the uniqueness and customer engagement value that they bring to the mall. They currently work with almost all the marquee mall developers from Phoenix Mills, Viviana, Nexus, Infiniti, VR Mall and Forum to name a few.

Way Forward

Planet Superheroes will continue to expand its retail footprint into territories that are underserved. Their next focus will be in the Eastern and Northern parts of India going as far as Guwahati in the North East of India. Planet Superheroes is a brand with a technology DNA – their technical ambitions surpass their current scale. While most retailers 5x their size have started thinking about these problems, Planet Superheroes has been quietly investing in leveraging automation, data-warehousing and intelligent algorithms to crack the complex world of omnichannel inventory management. They strongly believe that their robust tech infrastructure and process-driven expansion would be key differentiators as they scale from store number 25 to 100.

Special thanks to Jaineel Aga & Nikita Zankar from Team PlanetSuperHeroes.

 

 

The industry remembers David Cardwell

Rainbow Production’s David Scott leads the tributes to the co-founder of CPL who sadly passed away last week.

David Cardwell was an inspirational man. Many of us know all about the successes of CPL (or CPLG as it is now called) over the past 45 years, but few people know that he worked his way up from an under-privileged background, leaving school at 14 and coming to London full of ideas, energy and ambition. He worked as an errand boy for the Daily Express, helped create the Elvis Monthly (and relished the chance to interview Elvis himself).

He then worked as a music journalist, including for NME, became a publicist and manager for new pop music acts, most notably The Paper Dolls and Pikketywitch, and then in 1974 mortgaged his family house to help fund the first big contract for the just-founded CPL, working with Cosgrove Hall to make a TV series of Noddy.

And that was before most of us in licensing had even met him…

In those early days, together with his business partner Richard Culley, and along with a very small number of other pioneers and competitors, they established the UK licensing industry. David was someone who has not only helped shape a sector of British business, but also our very way of life and how we consume and interact with entertainment and the media. There are generations of people who have treasured memories of their childhood characters who will never know that their pleasure was enhanced by toys, clothing and a myriad of other items that only exist as they do today because of the drive, vision and creativity displayed by David, Richard and their competitors/colleagues some decades earlier.

CPL grew to become a major player in, firstly, UK licensing followed by an expansion into mainland Europe via a joint-venture called ELG (combining latterly with CPL to become CPLG). Indeed, it became a global success with a worldwide reach and a key port of call for overseas and home-grown rights owners wishing to exploit their brands in the markets where CPL was established. Always at the forefront of the industry, CPL was a veritable academy of licensing and many of its old boys and girls have themselves gone on to become leading lights in the licensing business.

It was a sad coincidence that we should hear the news about David’s death during BLE as the very first licensing exhibitions, and the forerunners of BLE, were supported by CPL which was such a strong player in the licensing world by that time. However, it gave those of us who knew him a chance to meet and chat together and reminisce about David and relate our favourite stories. I have included some of these stories, and thoughts, all recounted with affection by people whose lives, like mine, were changed by their good fortune in knowing him.

I am indebted to Dr Sarah Cardwell Davies, David’s daughter, who kindly provided the details of David’s early years and below are comments from a small number of those who knew him.

David - pictured with his business partner, Richard Culley - helped shape a sector of the British licensing business.
David – pictured with his business partner, Richard Culley – helped shape a sector of the British licensing business.

David Cardwell – Reminiscences from Friends & Colleagues

“It was a bold decision when David and I set up CPL in 1974; back then character licensing really was in its infancy.  Most of the outside world had no idea what we were talking about and had doubts we could make a living (Noddy on t-shirts? What next!). We proved them wrong, of course.

Our enduring partnership I believe lasted as long as it did, mainly because we complemented each other perfectly, were passionate about what we were doing and had the ability to make each other laugh. At the beginning David was the money man and I was acquiring rights and selling licences. It worked; we built from there. David became so knowledgeable I started to believe he’d crept off and done an accountancy degree such was his overnight ability to challenge more than one accountant, and mostly he was right.

Building the company together from scratch was challenging and exciting in equal measure. We had enormous fun over the years, took risks and many paid off. It became a little more serious when we sold to Mosaic and then went public, but at the start we really were living by the seat of our pants. One day David told me simply, we were running out of money. As luck would have it, I received a cheque that day for an advance on one of the first licences we’d secured. We celebrated in the very first branch of Pizza Express in Soho!   The next week David issued a set of rules: no taxis, no couriers (all mail in London to be delivered by foot or bus), no business lunches and a freeze on hiring. He was right, of course!

I feel blessed to have met David, follow our dream and grow CPL with him into the global success it has become.”
Richard Culley

“It’s difficult to dissociate David from the industry and my career – he gave me my first break in the business, as he did to so many. He had a strategic business mind and was a visionary – he was perhaps the first to see the opportunity for toy driven licensing/brand extensions. Knickerbocker Toy – which quickly became Hasbro Europe – was a client, with My Little Pony being one of the first of those properties to launch in the UK when I joined CPL in 1984. David quickly saw the opportunity as MLP became a craze and Hasbro could not keep up demand for toy products so licensed merchandise from CPL met that demand. Toy buyers were taken by surprise… one I remember calling it ‘My Little Warthog’ and refusing to stock it… oops!”
Charles Day

“He was a visionary and a mentor to me, as he was to so many others.”
Caroline Mickler

“David was one of a kind and I was privileged to have worked for him. He gave me an opportunity that I will be forever grateful for as it changed my life. There are so many memories to pull from such as weekly dinners at Chez Gerard or late nights at the Essex House bar in New York during Licensing Show, but my most memorable were the many meetings in the 12th floor board room on Percy Street where I would desperately try to breathe through a cloud of smoke as I hung my head out the window gasping for some fresh air which needless to say was always a challenge in Central London. They broke the mould with David and he will be missed.”
Kirk Bloomgarden

“David Cardwell, a true entrepreneur and visionary, a great friend and mentor. I knew him as an industry leader and his unique business style was very apparent when in the space of one week, he agreed to let me open up the first CPLG office in Germany in 1996, after having bought the remaining shares of the ELG operation. In the early Nineties (1992-1995), he started a pan-European agency network, a testament to his vision of future market developments.

As a smoker I fondly remember his office in Percy Street being a bit ‘smoky’, unlike his business instinct and decisions. When he last bought back CPLG from a Swiss based sports licensing company, he offered several members of his team the possibility to invest in the company and I remember him pushing us to stop reading the 150 plus pages purchase agreement, as everything should be fine [and] we should just get on with it.

David never really was a patient man. The board meetings were always short and to the point and if anyone started to ramble on, he was quite quick to put a stop to it. However, when he was asked about the future of the licensing business or for his advice, he always took the time to explain. I am extremely thankful to have worked closely with David, he formed my insight into our business. He was great fun to be with and I have so many fond memories of our travel together, the business diners, the drinks and many cigarettes! David had a great sense of humour, a sharp intellect and loved to live a good life and I will miss him dearly, as many others will do. Cheers David.”
Katarina Dietrich

“During my time at Copyright Promotions I held various roles, one of which was a new business one that encompassed developing new opportunities for licensing sales outwith and within the group, combined with seeking out new representations. Often I had to report directly to David. While he could be very direct in his feedback I welcomed his advice and encouragement.

He would always make pro-active suggestions, often fired up by products he had seen in the US and he, of course, had a great reservoir of knowledge of the licensing industry. He always knew someone, or else someone who knew someone. I really enjoyed chatting to him and listening to his anecdotes including ones from his time in the music industry. He was also very kind to me when my father was terminally ill and in hospital. He allowed me to leave work during office hours and actively encouraged me to leave the office to go and see my Dad. It was a thoughtful thing for David to do and to suggest. I remember David with fondness, respect and admiration. He helped shape our industry and helped a lot of us build our careers.”
Ian Downes

“Deeply saddened to hear of David’s passing. A real master of the understated but an unwavering enthusiasm for his clients, people and business. RIP.”
Simon Gresswell

“I have many fond memories of David. Aside from him accidentally meeting the Queen, one that always makes me smile is our morning cigarette in the Percy Street office while we waited for the kettle to boil and David describing how he made a jam roly-poly over the weekend. Only he forgot to remove the tea towel and rolled towel with the sponge! I will hold these little stories and moments in my heart forever, along with his random texts to check in over the years. No more texts my dear friend, thank you for everything you did for me – I will miss you very much.”
Angeles Blanco

“My first job in licensing was head of PR at CPL and I very quickly recognised that I had joined an industry full of fantastic characters who really knew how to work hard and play just as hard. David was most certainly one of these! Something we all looked forward to was the annual Christmas party which, certainly at that time seemed extravagant affairs at which there was very little in the way of holding back. There is now a select group of licensing people who will always remember seeing David careering down the stairs at Shepperton Studios on a tea tray!”
Jane Garner

“David offered me a job in 1992 with a struggling company called Rainbow Productions, which was a subsidiary of CPL in those days. He interviewed me on a Monday and I had the job of managing director by Friday (David was not one for hanging around) despite my not knowing what a costume character was, nor ever having visited the Rainbow premises. He was a hard taskmaster but always kept faith in myself and the Rainbow team until, in 1995, he went one step further and sold me the company – in the process changing my business career immeasurably for the better.”
David Scott

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/indepth/the-industry-remembers-david-cardwell/

Hasbro, Super Heroic blast into nerf fashion line

Hasbro and Super Heroic have announced a licensing agreement to launch NERF-branded kids’ apparel and footwear this August.

Designed for active play, the NERF x Super Heroic collection is an update to its lead footwear. The TMBLR v2 will launch with two new colors, and the collection will also introduce a brand-new silhouette titled the JMPR v2 in two colors featuring a new alternative closure with elastic laces and a toggle system.

The footwear styles are rounded out by an apparel collection featuring gender-neutral tops, joggers and t-shirts. The products will feature collaborative branding and individual pockets and compartments designed to hold NERF products.

“The power of this collaboration rests solely in the alignment of our shared values and the importance of our collective missions,” says Jason Mayden, chief executive officer, and co-founder, Super Heroic. “As a child of the ‘90s, NERF represents the apex of immersive, active play. It represents the freedom and wonderment of childhood that imbues us all with a sense of unrestricted creativity and limitless potential. We are honored and excited to partner with NERF to launch a collection that reminds us all, that if we can play together, we can live together.”

Super Heroic’s line will be available at select Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker stores and online.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/hasbro-super-heroic-blast-nerf-fashion-line

Hasbro unleashes Transformers Prime apparel

Hasbro has partnered with Zavvi.com for a line of licensed apparel with classic Transformers designs.

The apparel features Japanese Kana script and classic cartoon character designs. T-shirts in the line include depictions of both Transformers heroes and villains.

“We are thrilled to be working with Zavvi, the ultimate fan destination, to launch this fantastic collection of retro t-shirts,” says Nikki Gie, director, U.K. consumer products, Hasbro, speaking to TnP Media. “This exciting collaboration comes as the iconic Transformers brand celebrates its 35th year and is the ideal gift for fans ahead of the Bumblebee DVD release in May.”

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/hasbro-unleashes-transformers-prime-apparel

game-of-thrones-logo

#FORTHETHRONE! Official Game of Thrones merchandise is here!

With the release of the final season of the biggest ever American fantasy drama ‘Game of Thrones’, Black White Orange Brands Pvt. Ltd has curated impressive product lines for the massive army of diehard fans in India.

The multiple categories include novelty products like magnets, coasters, posters, mugs, notebooks, phone & tablet covers, premium youth bags and backpacks amongst others. With 20+ active licensees, brand collaborations & 700+ SKU’s, the brand is targeting almost 60 to 70 crores in retail value in 2019.

 

 

Bhavik Vora, Founder & CEO of Black White Orange Brands Pvt. Ltd says, “All of us at BWO are huge Game of Thrones fans and consumers will see a lot of that passion on the products. We are launching official merchandise in every possible category with over 500+ designs on apparel itself, catering to fans across the country. I would urge consumers to stop buying fakes and be loyal to #TheThrone.”

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, ace designer Masaba Gupta has acquired the Game of Thrones license to launch her Designer Limited Edition Collection in apparel, home products, and jewelry under her label ‘House of Masaba’. The apparel collection for women comprises of capes, kaftans, trench coats, stud embroidered corsets, dhoti sarees, and even a gown saree. For men, there are bomber jackets, sharp power suits, long trench, kurta, and even t-shirts. Inspired by the spectacular gardens, medieval palaces & diabolical war, the jewelry collection is dominated by elements like the kingdom’s sigils, filigree leaves and armors that make it stand out. Masaba X GOT is set to launch by May 2019.

 

Fastrack – ‘the urban youth brand’ plans to kick off with its exclusive Game of Thrones collection of premium bags, sunglasses, and watches in May 2019. The collection will revolve around the most loved characters from the show – Jon Snow, Khaleesi, Arya, Jaime and the force of nature, The Night King. The products are also designed in color schemes that are close to the individual characters.  Interestingly, a watch is also being designed which celebrates the Iron Throne. ‘Fastrack’ believes that the elements of the show were married with the brand’s own design aesthetics to design edgy and fashionable products.

 

What’s more? Hasbro and HBO have also joined forces to introduce an all-new edition of Monopoly: Game of Thrones in which the latest version integrates elements of the popular fantasy drama series into gameplay using tokens and properties inspired from the show. Fans can also get their hands on the recently launched Johnnie Walker White Walker Limited Edition Scotch Whisky, collectibles, figurines or the Funko – Game of Thrones range of POP figures!

Hasbro & Asics team for G.I. Joe shoe line

Hasbro has partnered with footwear brand Asics to launch a new shoe line inspired by G.I. Joe characters Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes.

The limited-edition GEL-LYTE III shoes are complemented by a coordinating apparel and accessories line by New Era and Hex.

The collection is inspired by the rivalry between Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes, an epic chapter in the G.I. Joe story. The shoes feature the split tongue and Asics’ GEL technology cushioning, a silicone-like material that is designed to absorb shock and protect feet from high-impact strikes.

The black Snake Eyes model features a premium emblem, a crystal rubber outsole and reflective detailing with black leather. The white Storm Shadow shoe comes with a crystal rubber outsole that masks the character beneath and premium emblem detailing. The bottom of both shoe models feature an iced outsole revealing Zartan, a figure central to the Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow storyline.

“ASICS has a solid reputation of launching innovative designs to consumers across the globe, and we are proud to bring G.I. Joe characters to life in an entirely original way,” says Casey Collins, general manager and senior vice president, entertainment and licensing, Hasbro. “We know fans and collectors will appreciate the care and detail Asics has taken in every aspect of the release from the shoe detailing to the packaging.”

The ASICS x G.I. JOE shoe line and coordinating apparel line is available exclusively at Foot Locker.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/hasbro-and-asics-team-gi-joe-shoe-line

Hasbro Launches Direct-to-Consumer Service

Hasbro has launched the Hasbro Pulse web-based direct-to-consumer service that mixes products and content in a bid to deepen ties with its brands’ fans, company executives said today during a meeting with investors.Hasbro-Pulse

The company introduced the service with pre-orders for the first of its Fortnite-licensed Nerf products that become available on March 22. That’s in addition to other products, including Transformers and Star Wars figures and a Transformers x Ghostbusters collection that packages together Ectotron and “Slimer” figures.

Hasbro Pulse also will feature a subscription club that gives fans, over time, a chance to buy complete collections. There also will be a loyalty program and exclusive products. The programming will include interviews with product designers, actors and authors. Consumers will be able to submit product ideas to HasLabs, which combines crowdsourcing with product development.

“By deepening our direct relationships with consumers, we will benefit from improved consumer insights, lower channel dependency and deliver increased innovation and speed to market,” Hasbro’s John Frascotti said.

While Hasbro’s sales last year were hit by the aftereffects of Toys R Us’ liquidation, Pulse won’t replace traditional retail distribution. Pulse replaces Hasbro’s former ToyShop.com direct-to-consumer operation, which originally launched in 2005, in adding  many new features.

“We have hundreds or thousands of retail doors around the world and a broad base of consumer products, and Pulse is really a content and product initiative targeted at the fan community,” Frascotti said. Pulse is “increasing our relationship with consumers in a very focused way and this will give us means for testing and learning many things that we can bring to our (retail) partners globally. It is not meant to be taking something for ourselves, but it is allowing us to be the tip of spear in fostering those relationships” with fans. We know there is a craving for this that is a bit underserved today.”

At the same time, Hasbro is expanding distribution outside its traditional base of specialty and mass retailers.  The number of value retailer (i.e. Family Dollar and Dollar General) storefronts in which its toys appeared last year increased 17%. And Hasbro is offering more channel-specific products like two-packs of Play-Doh at Dollar General, 50-packs at Costco and 20-packs to specialty toy retailers, Hasbro’s Eric Nyman said. It also has added Best Buy and Five Below to its retail distribution. To supply the new distribution, Hasbro will open a third distribution center in the Midwest later this year.

While the bulk of Hasbro’s licensing agreements with Disney (Marvel, Lucasfilm) are scheduled to expire late 2020, the company is “very engaged with them across the board in our businesses and we are very excited about what is coming in 2019, 2020 and beyond,” CEO Brian Golder said.

The company also is sharpening its focus on video games-related IP after finding a “convergence of videogame players and Nerf,” Hasbro’s Jonathan Berkowitz said. In addition to Epic Games and Fortnite, Hasbro has a licensing agreement with Activision Blizzard Entertainment for Overwatch Nerf products, the first of which started selling at GameStop in January and will expand distribution in May. After a decline in Nerf sales last year, due largely to Toys R Us’ demise, the brand will “absolutely rebound this year, but whether that will be absolute growth or is very close, we will see,” Goldner said. “The fact is we will make up all the ground.”

Source: https://www.licensing.org/inside-licensing/hasbro-launches-direct-to-consumer-service/

Hasbro unveils Transformers-Ghostbusters figure

 

Hasbro and Sony Pictures Consumer Products have revealed the first-ever Transformers-Ghostbusters collaborative figure to celebrate the 35th anniversary of both brands.

The figure cleverly converts between a seven-inch Ecto-1 vehicle and a Transformers robot.

Ghostbusters fans will enjoy a new “robot in disguise” named Ectotron, a converting paranormal investigator. The figure features a G1-inspired box with classic tech specs and comes with a proton pack and slimer accessory.

The Ecto-1 Ectotron will be available at GameStop in summer 2019 and is available for pre-order at HasbroPulse.comGameStop and EB Games Canada.